Whatever your age, size or shape it’s important to take good care of your breasts. Breast Cancer is now the most common type of cancer in the UK, so it’s more important than ever to take care of your breasts by being breast aware.
Many cases of breast cancer are identified because of people being breast aware – earlier detection of breast cancer can mean simpler and more effective treatment.
Being breast aware is an important part of caring for your body. It means getting to know how your breasts look and feel normally so you can feel confident about noticing any changes.
How do I check my breasts?
There is no right or wrong way to check your breasts. Try to get into the habit of looking at and feeling your breasts regularly. You could do this in the bath, shower, when using body lotion, or when getting dressed. You decide what is comfortable and convenient for you. Remember to check all parts of your breast, your armpits and up to your collar bone.
Everyone’s breasts look and feel different. It’s normal to regularly have lumpy breasts, and to have tenderness or pain around you period. It’s also common for one breast to be larger than the other of for them to be different shapes.
What changes should I look and feel for?
When checking your breasts, try to be aware of any changes that are different for you. This could be:
A change in size and shape
A lump or thickening that feels different from normal
A puckering or dimpling of the skin like the texture of an orange peel
If your nipples become inverted (pulled in) or change position or shape
If you nipples start to have discharger a rash around it
A swelling in your armpit
A constant pain in your armpit or breast
When should I see the doctor?
It’s important to see your doctor as soon as you notice any changes. Most breast changes are not cancer so try not to worry. But you do need to find out what is causing the change. You can ask to see a female doctor or for the nurse to be present if you prefer, you can also take someone you trust with you.
When will I get invited for breast screening?
Women are invited for a mammogram (breast x-ray) form the age of 50 – 70 as mosty breast cancers occur from that age. Younger women are not invited as routine screening has not yet shown to be of benefit to this group. You have to be registered with a doctor to be invited.
If you are over 70 you can ask your doctor to be screened as you are still at risk. Staying breast aware between screening is vital as most changes are picked up people themselves.
Does breast cancer run in families?
Breast cancer is a common disease, with 1 in 9 women in the UK developing it during theri lifetime. So it’s not unusual to have one or two people in your family who have had breast cancer. However a small number of cases (5-10%) do run in th family and may be caused by a faulty gene.
Can I reduce my chances of getting breast cancer?
We do not know exactly what causes breast cancer but we do know that being female and getting older does increase the risk. You may help to reduce your risk –and look after you general health – by:
Eating w ell balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables
Doing regular exercise
Limiting the amount of alcohol you drink
How To Check Your Breasts Video
For more information visit: www.breastcancercare.org.uk
Family Health Guide is NOT a medical advice service - consult your doctor for specific advice. The information on this website is for informational purposes only and is in no way intended to replace the professional medical care, advice, diagnosis or treatment of your doctor. If you have symptoms or feel ill please see your doctor.